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Meet our 2024 Emcees, Justin and Katie!

Learn about their experience with NUDM and what they're looking forward to at the event this year

Victoria Ryan

January 28, 2024

As winter quarter kicks off, we are one step closer to the big day in Welsh-Ryan Arena. As committees plan logistics and dancers perfect their moves, two NUDM community members are preparing for the event in a different way.

Seniors Justin Spitz and Katie Weil are looking forward to taking on a different role this year: emceeing the entire marathon. The people in charge of keeping the energy alive throughout the night, Justin and Katie hold a big responsibility. The NUDM Communications Team talked to the emcees about their thoughts leading up to the event.

Q: How long have you been involved with NUDM and what have you done in the past?

Justin: Last year was my first year involved in NUDM. I registered as a dancer, and I was planning on doing the same this year. I have a lot of friends that are part of the executive board, and they kept talking to me about potentially joining as an emcee. After a lot of talking and hyping up the idea I decided, yeah, why not?

Katie: I have done NUDM all four of my years here, but my first year was virtual, so it was on Zoom. But then my sophomore and junior years I went to the tent, and it was so much fun. I remember both years I wanted to be on stage so badly. Justin and I have been friends since freshman year, so we decided to be emcees together. We applied and are so excited to get to be the people making the energy super high in the arena this year. 

Q: What is one of your favorite memories from past Dance Marathons?

Justin: Last year was a lot of fun. I was a little skeptical of how fun it would actually be. It seems like it could be a stressful environment because there’s a lot of planning that goes into it. I have friends that are part of the logistics. The entire year they’re figuring out how it’s gonna go, and I thought maybe some people would be tired by the time I got there. But that wasn’t the case. Everyone was so hyped up and happy to be around each other. 

Katie: I always love the reveal at the end when we find out how much money was raised for the beneficiaries. It’s really an emotional experience because you’re tired from dancing, but it’s also the culmination of all the hard work throughout the months leading up to the event. It’s so exciting to present the hard work to the beneficiaries.

Q: Are you doing anything to prepare for being an emcee?

Justin: There’s an inherent boot camp that goes along with being Katie’s co-emcee because she’s an actual dancer. She’s giving me a workout regimen and everything, and I’m just doing what she says. 

Katie: Anytime Justin and I see each other, we always joke about getting people hyped up when we’re just in a random setting. There is some mental preparation too. I gotta get ready to pull this all-nighter and be dancing all night long. 

Q: There were a lot of changes made this year. What are you looking forward to in this new era of NUDM?

Justin: I’m excited about thinking about it as a new era. I’m excited about attracting more people and kind of rejuvenating the spirit of [NUDM] being a Northwestern cultural phenomenon. I’m definitely excited about being in Welsh-Ryan Arena. I think most Northwestern students have positive experiences in Welsh-Ryan, especially in the past year with the Northwestern men’s basketball team beating Purdue two years in a row. I think lowering the hours also increased accessibility for more people. It may bring up the intensity and the excitement. 

Katie: I think a lot of the changes are drawing more people into participating in Dance Marathon. I’m excited for the turnout. It’s also going to be super cool that it’s actually in the arena, getting to just have a giant dance party where our really awesome basketball team plays. Getting to bring Dance Marathon to that space will be really, really cool. 

Q: Any final thoughts for those reading?

Justin: I think anybody who signed up made the right choice! Ronald McDonald House Charities is a great beneficiary and we’re helping out a lot of people. It’s a huge cultural attraction at Northwestern and I think it’s gonna bring a lot of fun. 

Katie: Everyone should register for Dance Marathon!

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